December 18, 2006

Engagement of the designed environment...

The mini golf course idea was an example of engagment of the designed environment. The idea was to get kids to interact with their environment through a physical activity. In this situation, the designed environment forces kids to think mathematically about a physical action they are going to perform. In this case, the built environment becomes an interactive part of an activity they are performing.

December 11, 2006

Technology: A Double Edged Sword

Technology is a double edged sword. As a result of it, humanity gains numerous advantages over societies of the past. But with the advantages gained, there are detrimental consequences as well. Though technology provides us with convince and more efficient ways of doing things, it also can take away from the person ability of our lives. Industrialization is made more efficient through technology, increasing the efficiency to which individuality is taken from us. Technology can become a means to dominate society. One example of this is nuclear weapons. Nuclear warfare could cause world devastation resulting in the end of existence. Those in possession of the technology can use it to control those without it. The loss of past ways of life is another downfall that is associated with the application of technology. An example of technology changing ways of the past is in how people drive. Fifty years ago, many cars did not have automatic transmissions. The new technology of automatics was more expensive, and allowed people to drive who did not know how to use a clutch. Though these automatic transmissions made driving more convenient, it also opened the door for people to do many other things in cars besides just driving. With the work of shifting out of the picture, people were free to drink beverages, put on makeup, talk on cell phones, eat and do about anything but pay attention to the road. This contributes to the awful way many people drive. Not only do automatic transmissions hurt motorists’ ability to focus on the road, it takes away from some of the essence of driving. The feeling of downshifting into the sweet spot of an engine's torque curve is one of pure exhilaration. The disengagement and engagement of the clutch gives drivers a crisper feel for the feedback roads are giving to the drive wheels. Technology gives power to those who have it, makes the money driven capitalist model more efficient, and takes away pureness and innocence of old ways of life. Americans just seem to sit back and accept the changes new technology brings without considering if they actually are better for society. Sure, cable television provides viewers with hundreds of crystal clear channels about anything they want, but at what price? Going out and doing the things viewers watch on television is priceless compared to watching them on a screen. This blindness is caused by the monopoly technologies have on our society.
Technology is not all bad though. Medical technology keeps people alive with pace makers, gives amputees limbs, and through cloning; it may soon be possible to grow human organs to a person’s DNA to replace failing ones. Everyone benefits from technology. Modern tools make physical construction and labor possible at scales that would have never existed one thousand years ago. Advancements in material technology allow us to build stronger and lighter. Stone and brick made way to steel. Composite materials like carbon fiber are even stronger and lighter than steel. Amazing buildings of the future could be supported by a carbon fiber structure rendering steel archaic. Society in America, for the most part, just accepts new technology without questioning the negative aspects that accompany it. These examples just scratch the surface of the opportunities presented to us by technology.
When no restrictions are placed on technology, it tends to act in a very dominant way over nature. For example, the Hover Dam provides power for millions, but it completely flooded the river basin behind it drastically altering the natural environment. Automobiles and other mass polluters have torn a hole in the protective ozone layer, now exposing millions who live near Australia to suffer from high rates of skin cancer. Although there are debates to the degree of negative affects global warming is caused by humans, our pollution and changes to the natural environment do not help. Ice caps are melting and oceans are rising. Our use of technology may soon wipe out much of the world’s coastal population’s homes. Designers need to be careful when evaluating which technologies they plan to use in a design. Though every technology has benefits, there are negative aspects to it as well. By using technology to coexist with our environment, rather than dominate it, our existence in the future will be plagued by fewer problems.
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December 10, 2006

The Bittersweet Final Semester Blogging

The last two articles about the Fab Labs and Louis Khan's speeches about silence and light appear to have minimal relationship between eachother at first glance. Khan speaks directly about architecture and the relationships between light, shadow and the appearance of space to other arts, such as painting and music. All living things have some sort of concious. In the Fab Lab article, the relationship between industry and technology is examined. This relationship is questioned and the author raises the idea of putting technology back in the hands of its users. Girshenfeild talks about the idea of 'printers' that print actual objects, instead of just documents. The idea intertwines with something out of a science fiction movie and the application of technologies to other technologies to build the desired object. I recently saw a program on TV about a machine that printed 3D prototypes of objects from plastic sheets when designs were fed to it. To think that technology is at the point when one can feed a machine blueprints and have a completely unique prouduct pop out at the end is amazing to me. Though the 'How do make (almost) anything' class used technologies and tools to create items that didn't yet exist, machines and technology were used in manufacture of these unique, non-industry focused prouducts This is evidence that some of the ideas that Girshenfeild talks about are coming to life in a somewhat similar manner to the one he described.
After reflecting back after reading each article, I began to see the relationship between the two authors ideas. The overall message that both articles sent me is that creation stems from desire. Khan states that making art is the making of life. Architecture is art, and therefore, its creation is the making of a life too. The Fab Lab article illustrates how each person wanted their own idea to come to life. It didn't have to be profitable, marketable, or practical. The only requirement was a desire and passion from the creator to make something they've never seen before. The relationship between these two articles is that one must design out of passion for something they (or their client) want to see. A designer has a big social responsibility and should put passion into their design and give it the life they want it to have. Even though money has a large role in what can be designed, it should not be a motive for cutting corners or making something that you know could be better. Developers who duplicate the same design over and over are cheating communities from establishing their own life through buildings. Put passion into everything you design. Just like music that is performed with passion, if one designs with passion, their work will stand the test of time and have a unique life of its own.

November 12, 2006

Math in Naiture

One way we can see the relationship between math and our environment is by looking water. Math provides the formulas that show how everything on earth works, and since water covers most of our earth, it too can be explained through the formulas of math. The images below depict some of the ways water is a part of the environments. It is possible for a surfer to ride waves in the ocean because the surfboard has a density less than that of water, providing bouyancy. The velocity of the ocean wave provides thrust for the surfer to stay moving and balenced. Both of these ideas can be expressed in mathematical formulas to quantify velocity or density. The image of Angel Falls illustrates the impact of gravity on water. Just like everything else on our earth is subject to the affects of gravity, water is too. Again, mathematical formulas could be used to describe the velocity at which the water is falling, or the volume of water that falls in a given time. The ripples caused by a stone breaking through the surface of pond can also be described by math. Formulas can determine wavelegnth and magnitude. Math is the language that describes how our physical environment functions.

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October 30, 2006

Opposition and Resolution

One opposition and resolution I see around me every day now, is the opposition of the cold Minnesota climate during the winter and fall months and our family's desire to live here during those months. We resolve this opposition by using the adequate response of a heater to warm our home. By heating the environment inside our house, we adequately counter the cold outside and keep the tempature at a livable level. This could also be considered crosing the opposition, by doing the oppisite of what the outside temperature is doing inside. When people leave Minnesota for warmer southern climates in the winter time, they are eliminating the opposition. They simply eliminate the cold environment that ails them. I wish I could eliminate the opposition of cold winter weather sometimes, usually by the time the grey late winter months roll around, but until I can afford that, I will make due with the heater.

October 10, 2006

The musical phenomina

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October 2, 2006

My special place

My Cell

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September 25, 2006

MTV blows

I take issue to what MTV is doing to the generation of pre-teens and teens who religiously tune in to catch their favorite shows. Shows like "Viva la Bam" and "Laguna Beach" appeal to young people because they are funny or filled with drama. Now I have no issue with comedy or drama being on tv. I do have an issue to how MTV is doing it though. In "Viva la Bam," pro skater, and ex cast member of "Jackass" gets his own show in which he destroys and humiliates anyone or anything he doesnt like. When his mom pisses him off, he destroyes a set of china dishes handed down to her by her mom. "Laguna beach" is another show on my hit list. This shows rich high school kids in california being selfish and caddy. Kids watch these shows and think this is the cool way to act and that the world outside MTV works the same way.
I advocate against mtv by telling younger fans of the network that real life is very different from what they see there. In real life there are consequenses to destructive behavior and that being selfish and caddy will get you no where.

September 18, 2006

Lake St. Market

I was not able to vistit the market while it was open, but I was able to observe it while it was closed. I went during the evening, and there were relatively few people there compaired to the hustle and bustle during business hours. Even though business was not opperating, I couldn't help but sense the energy and livelyness that happens when it is open.